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Democratic Leadership In Full Retreat With 59 Seat Majority

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Right now Sen. Mitch McConnell is kicked back in his office with his feet propped up on his desk with a wide grin and the biggest illegal Cuban cigar one can imagine. If he were a drinking man, and it would be hard not to be if one were from Kentucky with its famous bourbon, he would have a nice tumbler nearby with perfectly formed ice cubes that made a sing song ‘clink clink’ as they dropped in the glass preparing themselves for a sweet shower of the Blue Grass states’ finest spirits.

And the reason for the Senator’s almost devilish smile you might ask? The driving force of Mr. McConnell’s mile wide Republican smirk can be found in his hand: a staff memo on the minority party’s office letterhead condensing the current list of the post Massachusetts special election Senate race talking points from the Majority party. There, dancing across the bone white paper lightly balanced in his hand, is a line that is the source of his beaming Kentucky smile:
“It is mathematically impossible for Democrats to pass legislation on our own. Senate Republicans to come to the table with ideas for improving our nation and not obstructionist tactics.”
With the sting of bourbon still singing from that last sip on his tongue he reaches for the intercom and calls out to his office aide to get the Majority leader on the line. While he waits for the reedy voice of Harry Reid’s felicitations to make its submissive crawl from the intercom speaker his nostrils flare from the tart sensation of his Cuban Diplomaticos’ slow burn. Resting his head back on the fine Corinthian leather chair that was a gift from the former Majority leader, Trent Lott, he forms in his mind the Senate agenda for the next 10 months with the right wing initiatives the floundering Nevada ex-bantam weight boxer will be forced to place before the Senate for consideration. He quietly chuckles as he thinks to himself, “And all with a 41 seat minority.” As his intercom finally sings out McConnell almost feels sorry as the Majority leaders voice nearly cracks calling out, “Mitch, what can I do for you?”

Ok, that’s not what’s really taking place right now, but the dynamics of the fictional picture above being painted and presented by the MSM along with the panicky public persona of the Democratic leadership in the wake of Martha Coakley’s loss in Massachusetts is. And in politics all perception is real. Even though the scenario I painted above is fictional the talking point isn’t. This talking point is not only real you can find others in a similar frame by the Democratic leadership here.

Let’s make this clear. The public perception of the electorate since the upset victory by Scott Brown of a panicky Democratic leadership is the frame being presented. The MSM’s picture they are painting of the above fictional relationship is real. And finally the MSM’s frame is as real as it gets as they continue to talk about how the Democratic leadership will now have to come to the Republicans with legislation that will get McConnell’s condescending nod of approval. In other words its all about what the Democratic leadership has to do, not the Republicans. Every issued tackled by the majority party will be within the context of conservative framing in the MSM regarding all fiscal matters connected with each initiative that will include tax cuts (what a surprise), spending cuts, deregulation, the funding and non funding mandates and so on. All of this with a 41 seat minority. That’s not only quite a feat, it one of stunning proportions. As a matter of fact that’s a feat unprecedented in our 220+ yr. History. Nice going Harry.

There is a running joke in the progressive blogosphere that all news no matter what is good news for the Republicans. The MSM’s conservative/GOP framing of the issues make it that way. Until the Democratic Party figures out how to change that landscape with an aggressive public posture and push their own issue framing they are in for a long painful ride as the opposing party no matter what status they are in. Harry Reid’s leadership to date has been a disaster perception wise. At this point and with his weak position in Nevada I don’t see a chance for it ever changing. I can’t recall ever being this disappointed in the Democratic Party. To make matters worse and even more infuriating the rogue Senator from CT, Joseph Lieberman, finds himself in a similar position of low popularity and high unfavorables back home (upper 30’s in some reports). Despite all this he has still managed to position himself as literally the most powerful man in the Senate. Yet, another historically unprecedented feat.

Until we somehow come up with new leadership I have a final suggestion for the beleaguered Harry Reid. Go out and find Robert Caro’s third volume book about Lyndon Johnson’s tenure as Majority leader: “Master of the Senate.” Mr. Reid should then use it like a “Majority Leadership For Dummies.” If ol’ LBJ were alive today in his prime and running the Senate his agenda would not only get passed he would make the Republicans like it with a smile. LBJ would make Mitch McConnell look like a red headed stepchild wondering how to please to get attention while he ran circles around him.

If only.

Update: Good god. As if on cue the MSM steps up to make my point above. Its exactly as Digby characterized it yesterday, "The problem is that [conservative ideology] is becoming conventional wisdom --- and the Villagers [members of the MSM] don't even know it." I couldn't have said it any better myself.

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